This series ran from 6/3/49 to 2/26/57 on NBC at various times and days and starred Jack Webb as Detective Sergeant Joe Friday. Various partners throughout the show's run were Sergeant Ben Romero (Barton Yarborough), Ed Jacobs (Barney Phillips), and Officer Frank Smith (Ben Alexander). Webb was the creator/Director of the series and wanted everything to be as authentic as possible, down to the last sound effect. The stories were based on actual police files and "the names were changed to protect the innocent". Dragnet broke a few radio taboos as well, such as dramatizing sex crimes. Children also were killed on occasion as in the episode "Twenty-Two Rifle For Christmas". The series eventually went to television and ran there for many years. The familiar DUM DE DUM DUM, the first four notes of the opening theme composed by Walter Schumann, became a pop culture legend and was forever associated with Webb, Dragnet, and just plain getting in trouble.
September 16, 2013 Subject:
Thad Brown: The Garbage Chute
Is there a website I can go to, to see cast members of old Dragnet radio episodes? I’m hooked on these old time radio shows and listen to them when I do my 4.5 mile walk each day. There are voices that I’m sure I have seen the individuals on TV shows. Two in particular are both Captains of Friday and Romero. The first one was Captain Ed Backstrand and I believe he was Raymond Burr. The second was the character Captain Thad Brown and he sounds like R.G. Armstrong. Plus there are voices that I’m sure I hear on a regular basis being more than one character in different episodes.
April 4, 2013 Subject:
Yes, yes, all of the above. Great fun!
Karvatromix, there's actually quite a bit of OTR material set in or around L.A., of which Philip Marlowe is the best known besides Dragnet. Off the top of my head there's also Stand By For Crime, featuring a tough investigative reporter, and most overlooked of all, Calling All Cars, a police procedural show from the 1930s. Among other things, you can hear about a raid on the last opium den in Chinatown--that's Old Chinatown where Union Station is today.
Oh and lest I forget: also Nightwatch, an unscripted reality show featuring the Culver City PD as they go out on their patrols.
February 4, 2013 Subject:
You Should download the Complete Dragnet
From the Old Time Radio Researchers' Network.
Download the complete version not the single episodes version and you'll get plenty of surprise extras.
February 3, 2013 Subject:
the big 38
i think of it as abig fan of jack webb he did well on this and all shoes he has done now i turned 51 in 2013 so i never got to hear them live but when ihear them today it's like i was there
June 11, 2010 Subject:
Twenty-rifle for chistmas was the saddest an best of the Dragnet radio. I hope we have come a long ways that a parent would not give a gun or rifle to a nine year old child. Dragnet got a lot of letters about this show an the NRA was not happy. But that's not a new thing. An the acting an sound was great.
December 3, 2009 Subject:
The Show and recordings
In the past I enjoyed working at the Los Angeles Police Historical Society, while there I saw boxes of the recordings for this show, I volunteered more than once to record them, however someone else beat me to it, never did find out who they were. Also, was told that the City Clerks Archivist had other boxes of these records, but never saw them. I was told that when Jack Webb or a repersentitive, donated them to the Historical Society, that the labels of each recording were torn off them. The records I saw did have the labels torn off.
I would truly like to hear someday that the Historical Society put out some CD's of those recordings.
You can find the Historical Society on the Web. Just Google: Los Angeles Police Historical Society. Located on York Boulevard just west of North Figueroa St in L.A.
June 26, 2007 Subject:
That's okay, Ma, I'll just make a sandwich
I wanted to add in that not only was DRAGNET on radio a fine police drama, but it was, to me, a wonderful record of its time.
It documented a number of conventions of life in this time (how accurately I can't say) and not the big ones like politics or war. It includes details like how someone made a long-distance phone call, or would hang their laundry out - things that told me what the life of the ordinary person was like circa early 1950's.
The line in my review title tells you what Joe Friday said to his mother regularly. She was a great character that popped up occasionally and great fun for me to hear. The actress who played her was Peggy Webber, who played an endless stream of many different women. I love listening just to hear her many voices.
NOTE: Avoid reading the name of the show before listening to the broadcast! Once I did and an important surprise was revealed in the title.
May 30, 2007 Subject:
Long Live Fatima!!!
Dragnet is a "just the facts" cultural time-capsule in more ways than one.
Los Angeles is not the subject of many shows (can't recall any at the moment) of the radio era.
And for anyone familiar with Los Angeles and OTR shows, it is just fun to hear street names like Sepulveda and other geographical names in the context of the show...
Great pacing and sound effects. One of the MP3 discs I cannot use for my insomnia.
August 9, 2006 Subject:
My name's Friday, I'm a Cop
Well ahead of its time for some of the subjects,
yet not afraid of rank sentimentality either (Big Little Jesus), Jack Webb pulled it off on both
radio and t.v. Far and away the best of all his
August 6, 2006 Subject:
Just the Facts
In OTR, as with much media, there are some great moments and a lot of stinkers. Jack Webb had more than his share of Great Moments.
Dragnet was dead on perfect for what it was. It was a crime drama in a time when crime was being given a place at the table in popular American culture. No longer the stuff of heroic myth making or pulp soap opera like so much of what had come before, crime was the ugly cousin who was at your house to stay.
Dragnet was a response to this. Other shows tired and hit it to varying degrees, listen to the 21st Precinct for a good example, but Dragnet set the bar for any crime related show that came after it. Look at any Law And Order episode and you will see Dragnet's influence in force. CSI, Coldcase, any of the crimes shows of this type have a direct lineage to Dragnet.
None of the names in this review were changed to protect the innocent.